Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
That assumes I have friends that call me!
Evergreen Park, IL
Favorite city and why?
I can’t pick just one because there are three cities that I’m obsessed with: San Francisco, Austin, TX and Santa Fe, NM, in roughly that order.
Why? For starters, all of them are warmer and have better scenery than Chicago! More importantly, all of them have amazing arts scenes. San Francisco not only has an amazing liberal music, literary and art scene going on, it also has a wild divergence of food, culture and geography. I’ve set two of my novels north of the city. I love that within an hour you can be in the ocean, on a mountain or in the wine country.
Austin lives by the mantra “Keep Austin Weird.” It is, and it’s wonderful. It has the best music scene in the country. I used to go to SXSW all the time, and long for the day I can go back. My son’s middle name is not Austin by accident.
Santa Fe is a quiet gem of a town set high in the hills of NM. It’s been my writing mecca for years, since I go there on business every year. And they have the best chili rellenos on the planet.
Birthday / Age:
March 14, 1966 / You can do the math.
How would you describe yourself physically?
Taller than a midget and shorter than a linebacker.
How would someone else describe you physically?
Is this for a police report? Because I’m not providing a DNA sample.
Thank you for not offering to provide a DNA sample.
They frown on that at the post office.
The first thing people notice about you is…
How wildly charismatic I am. Okay, maybe irreverent smartass is a more accurate evaluation.
Yes, I am strongly sexually oriented.
Religion, if any?
Church of the Poison Mind.
Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I’m afraid of people who want to send me $1 million dollars from Zimbabwe.
I don’t know who those e-mails actually work on. I’m automatically suspicious of any unfamiliar e-mails with attachments attached. Especially any e-mails from foreign barristers, princesses, and lotteries.
I know, right? I still get one of these silly things at least once a week! They must work on someone occasionally.
I love English Ale, craft IPAs and a shot of Makers Mark bourbon on the side. If that’s a bad habit, I’m going to hell.
Well at least you’ll be in good company. The downside? Warm beer.
True. I wonder if they just serve British cask beer in hell?
I’ll let you know when I get there.
Current occupation / Dream job:
I pay the mortgage by managing internet offerings for a medical association. I’d love to be able to pay the mortgage by touring in a rock band as the songwriting keyboardist “soul” of the group.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Over the past few years, I’ve been slowly working my way through seemingly every horror and exploitation film of the ‘70s and early ‘80s. I have a strong penchant for euro-productions. Oh, and, occasionally, I buckle down and write fiction.
What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Take all the canned goods and Tostitos to the basement, make sure the beer fridge is stocked, and get ready to enjoy re-watching all of my DVDs from Jean Rollin, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Jess Franco, Russ Meyer, Mario Bava, Stuart Gordon and others for the next few days. After the power goes out, I guess I’ll donate my brain to the cause… if there are any brain cells left.
Love those directors! I’ve had the good fortune to actually meet Rollin, Argento and Gordon.
Weapon of choice:
Do you have any special skills?
I play the synthesizer and cook a mean stir fry and atomic chile con queso.
Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I majored in Journalism with a focus on Renaissance Literature.
If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
Loans? What for? I worked my ass off in high school and college at part-time jobs to save up my tuition and dorm money and never took a loan from anyone. Including my parents. I never took out a student loan -- I paid for all four years of college on my own, with some academic scholarships. My first loan was for my first car… which I bought just before I graduated, so I could continue to be a workaholic and get to my first full-time job – as a Chicago area newspaper reporter!
I share my home office with a lesser sulphur cockatoo named Kiwi. We got her as a baby 22 years ago (we actually spoon fed her the first few weeks we had her). In the cage next to her is my 25-year-old lutino cockatiel, Lem. Anyone who knows birds will realize that in human years, Lem’s about 110 years old! And last fall, we went to a bird show just to see some birds and ended up coming home with a baby grey cockatiel we named Stormy. I think she has bonded with me more than any pet I’ve ever had! If I am home, she is on my shoulder. We also have a 3-year-old parakeet named Boomer who keeps Stormy company in the family room when I’m not around.
What is your favorite animal?
After the prior response, I think it’s no surprise that I’m very much a bird person.
Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
“People” is probably too general of a response, huh? Eh, too bad, I’m going with that.
Favorite / Least favorite Food:
I’m excited by any food with a healthy dose of hot peppers. Preferably chunks of the actual peppers, not powder. Spicy Thai Noodles, Cajun gumbo, Mexican salsa, Southwest Chile Rellenos… have peppers, will eat.
Won’t eat? Most fish. Not a fan of fishy things, Brussel sprouts or cauliflower (I’m convinced the latter is a deceptive product of Styrofoam makers).
What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“With age comes wisdom, and ironically, Alzheimer’s.”
What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Becoming a father.
What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
I’ve been fairly lucky in life. There have been emotional turmoils, but I’ve never broken a bone, lived on the street, or suffered a really life-shattering defeat. My parents’ divorce when I was 14 was probably a heavy hit… but ultimately, it gave me strength and made me the person I am today. So I’m not sure that was a “worst” thing. It may have been a “best” thing!
Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
No, honestly, I don’t think I have.
Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
I’m not a very outwardly emotional person, so I’d guess I’ve broken every woman’s heart who ever loved me at some point, from my mother to my wife. I don’t suppose that’s a positive character trait.
What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
In college I applied and got accepted into a magazine intern program in New York City. The result was, I got on a plane, rode in a taxi from the airport, and lived out of state for the first time in my life – all at once! It was an experience that really changed my career path and outlook on life forever.
What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
If I told you, I’d have to kill you.
If you could kill one person, consequence free, who would it be and why?
See previous answer.
What do you do?
I run an online medical education website for a non-profit association.
How did you get started doing what you do?
In college, I had an internship at a music magazine (Stereo Review) in NYC, and then another internship at the American Medical Association’s AMNews tabloid. The first one got me a job at a newspaper and later a music magazine for a few years. The second internship (later) got me a job as a news editor for a medical association… where I subsequently climbed the management ladder over the next decade. So I have “written” my whole professional life – for newspapers, magazines, trade publications, educational websites… and for fiction magazines, anthologies and publishers on the side.
Do what you want to do. Don’t pull your punches, and don’t give up, if that’s what you really want. Don’t be a dabbler. Dive in… or go find something else that you care about enough to give your all to. If you want to succeed at fiction or music, or any of the arts, you have to be “all in”. If you’re not going to be… don’t bother.
What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past? Give us a little history if you will.
I spent the ‘90s writing and publishing short fiction in various small press magazines, which was eventually collected in my first book Cage of Bones & Other Deadly Obsessions in 2000. That was one of the first books that the famed Delirium Books produced (I think it was #6). Another short story collection followed, Vigilantes of Love, in 2003, and then finally my first novel, Covenant, came out on Delirium in 2004, about 10 years after my first short story was published. My second novel, Sacrifice, followed in 2007, along with my 3rd short fiction collection, Needles & Sins (from Necro). The following year, Covenant and Sacrifice were bought and reissued in mass market paperback by Leisure Books. I wrote three more original novels for them before Leisure folded. Then I moved to Samhain Publishing, where I’ve published three more novels – NightWhere, Violet Eyes and The Family Tree.
Along the way, I’ve also written in “other people’s worlds” which has been fun. I wrote “Witch Trapped,” a tie-in novelette for “The Vampire Diaries” that was contracted by Amazon Publishing to launch their “Kindle Worlds” storefront and I’ve written Green Hornet and Kolchak: The Night Stalker stories for Moonstone. I’ve also written two novelettes for books 1 and 3 of Jonathan Maberry’s shared world V-Wars anthologies.
Covenant and NightWhere and a short story, “Letting Go” have all been Bram Stoker Award finalists (Covenant won).
What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on the sequel to Covenant and Sacrifice. It’s a book I’ve wanted to write for eight years, so I’m having a blast.
I don’t watch television shows, but every weekend I pop in a DVD or two on my big screen in the basement. Last weekend I watched Alejandro Jodorowsky’s restored transgressive 1973 masterpiece The Holy Mountain and the director’s cut of Clive Barker’s NightBreed.
What are you listening to?
At this moment? www.strangewaysradio.com. It’s what I listen to every night at my computer.
What are you reading?
E.L. James’ Fifty Shades Freed.
Favorite author / book?
Hard to pull just one. Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game had a big impact on me, as did the early novels of Stephen King, Edward Lee and Anne Rice.
Favorite band / song?
The Cure, Psychedelic Furs and Kate Bush top my favorite musical artists list. But that list is longggggggggg. I was a music critic with a weekly newspaper column on pop music for 20 years. So my favorites include everyone from John Fogerty to Green Day to Katy Perry to Brandi Carlile.
Least favorite band / song?
I’ll be honest, I can’t fathom why anyone listens to Kanye West.
If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
I’d be writing and recording music for a living. Music has always been my first love. I realized early on though that I was more likely to be able to earn a living and support my family writing than I was as a musician. Plus, you don’t ever have to leave your office as a writer!
Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive. Kate Bush.
Dead. William Shakespeare
What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
Working as an assistant editor at the Illinois Entertainer was probably the best. I’d say my internship at Stereo Review, because I was in NYC and working for a real magazine… but I didn’t get to write much there, though I was in an amazing place that summer.
Worst job? Stocking shelves at the grocery store in high school.
Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
Don’t you want to know my favorite color?
No. But if you’re burning to tell us, feel free to do so.
The first-pass survey is just a tool I use to try to get to know people I don’t know so we can try to get a conversation started.
I’m a purple nut. My home office? Painted purple. My iPhone case? Purple. The “eye” (mine) that serves as the logo of Dark Arts Books? Purple. Nearly any book that I’ve signed over the past 10 years has been signed with a purple pen. It was no accident that my seventh novel was called Violet Eyes.
W.D. Gagliani, Brian Pinkerton, Martin Mundt, Mort Castle, Bill Breedlove? (Great writers and friends in the Chicago/Milwaukee area).
I’ve got an interview with W. D. Gagliani almost ready to post, but feel free to point anyone else in my direction.
Got any questions for me?
Has this every happened to you? You go to a wild party and wake up the next morning at home with a cooler that is filled with ice and human kidneys next to your bed? Just curious.
No, sir, I can’t say that it has.
Oh… er… nevermind then!
Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
It was fun!
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote. All of them.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/John-Everson/e/B002BMHL52/
John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Covenant, Sacrifice, The 13th, Siren and The Pumpkin Man, all released by Dorchester/Leisure Books in paperback and by Delirium, Necro and Bad Moon Books in limited hardcover. His sixth novel, NightWhere, was a 2012 Bram Stoker Award Finalist. The Family Tree, NightWhere and Violet Eyes, his "creepy spider novel" were released from Samhain Publishing.
A wide selection of his short fiction has been collected in five short story collections - Deadly Nightlusts (Blasphemous Books, 2010), Creeptych (Delirium Books, 2010), Needles & Sins (Necro Books, 2007), Vigilantes of Love (Twilight Tales, 2003) and Cage of Bones & Other Deadly Obsessions (Delirium Books, 2000).
John is also the editor of the anthologies Sins of the Sirens (Dark Arts Books, 2008) and In Delirium II (Delirium Books, 2007) and co-editor of the Spooks! ghost story anthology (Twilight Tales, 2004). In 2006, he co-founded Dark Arts Books to produce trade paperback collections spotlighting the cutting edge work of some of the best authors working in short dark fantasy fiction today.
John shares a deep purple den in Naperville, Illinois with a cockatoo and cockatiel, a disparate collection of fake skulls, twisted skeletal fairies, Alan Clark illustrations and a large stuffed Eeyore. There's also a mounted Chinese fowling spider named Stoker courtesy of fellow horror author Charlee Jacob, an ever-growing shelf of custom mix CDs and an acoustic guitar that he can't really play but that his son likes to hear him beat on anyway. Sometimes his wife is surprised to find him shuffling through more public areas of the house, but it's usually only to brew another cup of coffee. In order to avoid the onerous task of writing, he records pop-rock songs in a hidden home studio, experiments with the insatiable culinary joys of the jalapeno, designs book covers for a variety of small presses, loses hours in expanding an array of gardens and chases frequent excursions into the bizarre visual headspace of '70s euro-horror DVDs with a shot of Makers Mark and a tall glass of Newcastle.
For information on his fiction, art and music, visit John Everson: Dark Arts at www.johneverson.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/johneverson.
About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and Condemned; and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
Check out his electronic music here: soundcloud.com/master_control
And here: master-control.bandcamp.com
Check out his Etsy here: www.etsy.com/shop/ScottLefebvreArt
Stalk his Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TheLefebvre
E-mail him at: Scott_Lefebvre@hotmail.com